Best food for Indian nursing mothers
Last 9 months of pregnancy you have already been maintaining a well-balanced healthy diet, with same motivation you should continue it during breastfeeding. For first 6 months of breastfeeding, baby’s need of breast-milk increases day by so you need to eat more so your body makes enough breast milk for growing baby.
Nursing mother needs to maintain a very healthy diet with extra calories too. Don’t worry about the weight gain; we are here to help you reduce it after you finish with exclusive breastfeeding.
It’s a bad idea to start dieting during breastfeeding because if baby’s nutritional need is not satisfied from your daily food then it is fulfilled from your storehouse directly affecting on your health long terms.
Below listed food items and tips will help your body make more milk.
Tip 1: Select easily digestible food: Eat whole grains and cereals, digestible beans, vegetables, milk, fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Tip 2: Select the foods that provide you plenty of protein, calcium, Vit A, fibers and iron. Your diet should be high in essential fatty acids (DHA and AA) which help producing more nutritious and fattier breast milk.
First 40 days post pregnancy:
Traditionally in many countries including India, after delivery of baby, first 40 days are recuperation period for baby and mother.
With a new born child, you are not aware which food you baby could be allergic to and you are just recovering from delivery and 9 months of hard work, so it is advised that you eat healthy as well as easily digestible food.
You should avoid below food items during first 40 days:
Gassy and Difficult to Digest Food
Beans like Chana/toor/(basically beans other than Moong), raw banana, meat, potatoes, fine wheat bakery products, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, peanuts, meat (you can have soup)
Chilly and spices
Spicy foods may upset your little one’s tummy. You may have pinch of black pepper powder.
Citric fruits and vegetables
For at least first few days avoid sour fruits (like lemon, raw mangoes etc.). Your baby may be absolutely fine with it but you may want to try it after first 40 days.
Avoid excess oil in cooking
Do not eat junk food, it will give you only unwanted fats. Use Desi Ghee which is good fats and rich in DHA.
Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine should be avoided throughout breastfeeding period.
Medicines Without Prescription
For any health issue do not take any medication before consulting your doctor, not even for common cold/fever.
Slowly as the baby’s digestive system develops, you can go on introducing each item to your diet one at a time so that the baby will adjust to it easily.
Foods that Increase the Breast Milk Production
Below are the commonly known Galactagogue foods. (A galactagogue is a food item or exercise or medicine which can increase the breast milk production)
Apart from having medicinal properties, Garlic acts as a lactogenic as well.
Garlic lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, improves immunity, it has high level of iodine, it is anti-fungal. Garlic prevents multiple cancers and is a source of Vit C and B6
Coconut water is richest natural source of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration. It helps regulate blood pressure and lose weight. Coconut (specially the coconut oil) increases medium chain fatty acid in your body which improves the absorption of nutrients existing in the mother’s diet hence mothers milk contain more nutrients.
Cumin seeds help digestion and improve immunity. They also beat the acidity and constipation. They are believed to increase the production of breast-milk. They are also a good source of iron. Use cumin seeds and roasted cumin powder in food preparation. In all most all over India, new moms are given loads of cumin and garlic in curries/ vegetable fry.
Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
In many countries fennel is in list of galactagogue foods. Fennel seeds are commonly consumed roasted as a mouth-freshener in India. Fennel seeds are a good source of vitamin C, they help in digestion.
In India, traditionally breastfeeding mothers daily consume a mouth-freshener mix containing roasted fennel, sesame, ajwain and black salt.
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
It is a great herb it has many medical properties. Tulsi tea acts as a medicine on your body in common cold, cough, fever, tooth disorder, eye disorder, skin disorder and yes, it is a galactagogue too. Tulsi is a very good source of vitamin K. It helps in digestion. See the recipe section for tulsi tea.
Poppy seeds / Khas-khas
is a galactogogue. see Khas-khas curry recipe.
beats problems connected to women’s fertility. Shatavari, means “a woman who has a hundred husbands” (Don’t laugh, it is just a name!!). Shatavari helps in balancing the female hormonal system. It promotes body’s natural lactation. Shatavari nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. It nourishes the womb and ovum and supports the female organs for pregnancy. Relieves pain and controlling blood loss during menstruation. Shatavari Is Helpful For The Eyes, Brain and Reproductive Tissue
Dill leaves are believed to have galactagogue effect. Dill leaves are high in fibre, rich source of vitamin A, C, folic acid, antioxidants, minerals.
It is main part of breast milk, you need to maintain good level of water in your body. Remember to drink a glass of water before you start breast-feeding your baby, as you may feel thirsty in between feeding.
To maintain sufficient water level of your body, drink milk, fruits juices, vegetable soups, coconut water, buttermilk, lassi etc.
MilkGreat source of calcium, milk is very important during lactation. In some countries dairy food is not considered good for breastfeeding moms, but in India traditionally and scientifically it is believed that cow’s milk being good for nursing. Milk is source of Vitamin B12 and Zinc too.
Special healthy Food for Breastfeeding
Your healthy diet during pregnancy should be continued during lactation also. Apart from above good-for-breast-milk food, below are few more special healthy foods for you.
Edible gum/ Dink (Gondh)
All over India, lactating moms are given Edible Gum laddoos by their moms. It is known to help in the production of milk. It strengthens back bone of new mom.
are a rich source of protein and vitamin E . Every morning eat 4-5 almonds soaked overnight.
is a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K (11), essential for brain function. It is highly recommended to include ghee in your diet specially if you are a pure vegetarian (as it is one of very few sources of Vit K and DHA for you).
Flax Seeds and Salmon (Rawas):
Fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are also said to increase milk supply. DHA is vital to infants’ development, DHA can be derived from the aomega-3 fatty acids found in flax seed and Salmon (Rawas in India). Healthy fats are essential for the production of hormones, which help regulating milk production.
Drumstick and it’s leaves:
are believed to increase breast milk. It has high iron content. It is one of the great foods for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Drumstick’s leaves are rarely available in Indian market but its one of super foods on earth. Moringa Leaves are blessings for New moms: Know here more
- When you eat a new food, try eating one new item at a time to observe it’s effect on baby.
- It is believed that foods you eat has effect on the flavor of your breast milk so eat variety of healthy food for different tastes. It will also help your baby to start with solids after first 6 months.
- If after eating any particular food, your baby is colic, then it is better you avoid that food for few days/weeks.
A breastfeeding mother’s body is working day and night to make breast milk for her baby. You will be hungry more often now, eating small meals with healthy soups/porridge/snacks in between meals will help you keep your energy level high and also will keep you ready for feeding your baby anytime she needs.
Do not count calories for 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Happy breastfeeding! Enjoy this magical time of bonding with your baby.
Read : Foods for Breastfeeding moms To help baby put on Weight
Read: Diet Plan for Breastfeeding moms